The American Book of the Dead: End Day Kiss


Habañeros burst over Japan with the power of a thousand suns. Scorched their tomorrows (rhymes with sorrows). Mega-Scoville-unit flash of Hiroshima torn of age, of Nagasaki Lords of Heat and Light, of barbeque, barbeque (white hot singe yer tongue).

“Blow away dark clouds of war!” the schoolgirls sang.

Uniformed,  nubile, baring skin, they hop-skipped seductively to market.


Oh, burnt marshmallow eyes! Oh scattered ashes that were you…

Saved G.I. Joe from “poof!” and downed your sun-rise (poof!).

Uncle Sam – Sam! Sammy! Sammy! – will take you all on (poof!), one at a time it’s only fair (poof!), like Young Abe Lincoln threw Jack Armstrong (oomph!) and his scruffy gang of rowdy ruffian rapscallions, who despite scars; “kills” notched on wooden legs; bad teeth; psoriasis, and other moderate to severe afflictions, had – every one of them had  — hearts of gold.



As a tax-paying citizen I demand a “direct hit,”
specifically to the brain or other sub-system vital to
the perpetuation of my person; however, if such terms
cannot be arranged, a box seat within one mile radius
of ground zero will suffice.

I refuse to be caught outside the Box, the Zone, the Mark.

I do not like pain, pain hurts me.  Agony is a wisdom to which I do not aspire.

So, just one thing I ask of you (just one thing,
Sugaree): place me within bull’s eye distance of the
blast. I’ll wear a crimson top-hat and green jumper
with red fluorescent target, front and back, declaring
my coordinates (you can’t miss me).


The Phantom


I remember seasons before End Day, guest of every thatched hut, crash-pad, art deco den of inequity that warmed the globe… I remember End Day like family, hungry company, dressed casual as Summer.

“Long as you feed him he won’t leave,” the Old Folks

Naked at night (and tattooed!), good ol’ End Day helped
himself to thatched hut, crash-pad, art deco family

End Day casual as Summer.

“Long as you feed him he won’t leave.”

Naked as day at night (and tattooed!) End Day bid
“Good-bye” to khakis, denim, virgin flannel.

“Hello” pale, puckered, blood-stained birthday-suit of End Day.

End Day, raider of Frigidaires, burglar of dreams,
morphed to such nightmares as schemes are made on, and
sold to rubes as sparkling vistas, pristine visions, or
heaped upon the poor:

“Here’s your slice of the pie, kiddo. Enjoy!  But be
thrifty. Save. Don’t gulp it down at once you’ll get a
belly-ache, you’ll wake up in the morning with a
belly-ache and nothing.”


Oh, what a beautiful morning: so much bird-song,
greenery, flowers. Shame to see it burn. But we won’t.
See it.

What day End Day say to cower in our cellars? Tuesday,
was it? All supposed to disappear next Tuesday.
Thunder-flash and poof! Ashes to ashes. Dust. Vapor.
Planetary dry-heaves; belly-cough of molten goo.
All over before crying can commence. Too quick to even

“Don’t feel bad,” End Day told us. “Think of the hopes
and wonderments of Beginning. Think of ice-cream and
casual promises of New Time. Think of a covenant
between persons, individuals, young people, free
people, in love. Think how it will feel, the taste and
scent of raw desire, anticipation for the everything
and all-at-once and more, more, more…

“Like a kiss.”

Beau Cephalus, Writer-in-Residence at /dev/null, is not afraid to speak the Truth to Power. So long as there's a viable exit-strategy. Read other articles by Beau.